Picture Book Biography: Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine Stands Out

We are featuring picture book biographies nominated for Cybils in the Early Elementary/Middle Grade Nonfiction category this week at Wrapped in Foil blog.  Our first title is Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by April Chu, which is the story of a unique and fascinating woman who was years ahead of her time.

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Adults may have heard of the British poet Lord Byron, but likely they have missed the story of his inventive math whiz of a daughter, Ada Byron Lovelace. Lovelace overcame a severe childhood illness to write the first computer program. Who knows what she might have achieved if she hadn’t died at a relatively young age and if her collaborator, Charles Babbage, had actually built the analytical machine he had planned.

The combination of Wallmark’s passionate text and April Chu’s superb bold illustrations make this book stand out from the pack. Children will appreciate the fact Chu included a playful cat in the illustrations, adding interest and continuity from page to page.

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine is likely to resonate with kids interested in computers, math, and engineering and inspire some who haven’t yet found their passions. History buffs, particularly those interested in women’s history, will also want to check it out.

Have you seen this book yet? What did you think?